Another day, another development in Bali. Rampant, chaotic and unsustainable it may appear on the surface, but Bali has the stats to nurture a growing tourism industry. With total visits up another 7% year-on-year (from 2014 to 2015) and boasting a 14% increase in arrivals the previous period (2013-14)†, it seems we can’t get enough of Bali. And it’s not just the Aussies. A love for the natural and cultural beauty on this tiny island is shared with many other nationalities. The Chinese, in particular, are close to outnumbering Australian visitors. And whilst Bali still represents good value for Australian travellers, the flourishing Chinese market has been cited as one of the main reasons behind Bali’s recent price increases.
Higher prices might be here to stay in Bali, but it’s not all bad. New pricing standards are also a reflection of the improved quality and consistency in tourism services. Sure, bogans (schoolies and toolies too) represent a portion of the Australian contingency, but a growing appeal continues to spread to families and foodies. As a result, the bar has been raised, particularly in the food and accommodation sectors.
So how do Bali’s new hotels stack up? We look at the highly anticipated hotel openings of 2015-16 to see if they are meeting expectations six to twelve months on.
Bisma Eight, Ubud
Stunning views of the surrounding jungle and organic farm can be enjoyed from the Bisma Eight rooftop bar and infinity pool. That got your attention, didn’t it? The Bisma Eight is a forest escape in the heart of Ubud. Think sweeping views, morning yoga, coffee at the library cafe or a relaxing soak in your Japanese onsen bath. Positively dreamy. Rated: 9.4/10
Book early at this property for discounts up to 55%. Prices from AU$295 per night. Check rates and availability at the Bisma Eight Ubud.
Mandapa, A Ritz Carlton Reserve, Ubud
If you’re after that ‘wow’ factor, the Mandapa won’t disappoint. With a focus on health, it offers luxurious wellness, opulence and exclusivity all rolled into one. This is a special occasion hotel with unrivaled attention to detail. Our Tip: Reserve a cocoon beside the river at Kubu Restaurant. Fine dining at its, well, finest. Rated: 9.4/10
Prices start from AU$800 per night. Check rates and availability at Mandapa Ubud.
The Katamama, Seminyak
Cleanliness, comfort and outstanding service give this boutique resort an exceptional rating. The villas are some of the largest and most uniquely decorated on the island. Our Tip: Breakfast is a Spanish style selection at the neighbouring restaurant Movida. If you prefer a decadent breakfast buffet, this hotel isn’t for you. Rated: 9.4/10
Suites from AU$490 per night. Check rates and availability at the Katamama Seminyak.
The Alila has been described as “not perfect but lots to love”. It has a few flaws, but plenty of charm too. We love all the green spaces dotted around the resort. The Alila scores highly for their amazing staff and ideal location with easy access to Seminyak’s best restaurants and bars. Our Tip: Skip the meals here and head next door to the famed Potato Head Beach Club. Rated: 9.1/10
Prices from AU$350 per night. Check rates and availability at Alila Seminyak.
Four Points by Sheraton, Kuta
Although the Four Points isn’t quite as popular as other hotels here, it’s still a serious contender. A classy property with large inviting lagoon pools and a rooftop swim up bar. Also, what toddler wouldn’t want to play at *this* Kids Club?! Rated: 8.4/10
Prices from AU$115 per night. Check rates and availability at the Four Points by Sheraton in Kuta.
Still to come…
Hotel Indigo Seminyak
Seminyak delivers again with another luxury hotel in the middle of this vibrant neighbourbood. Located next to Mesari Beach (renowned for its breathtaking sunsets) and walking distance to Petitenget Temple, Hotel Indigo offers the perfect balance between tranquility and adventure.
Hotel Indigo is currently only accepting direct bookings for stays from 1 December onwards. Take a look at the new Hotel Indigo in Seminyak.
Mandarin Oriental Bukit Peninsula
Opening at the end of 2016, this secluded resort sits at the southern end of Bali on the Bukit Peninsula; an area known for having the best beaches and surfing spots. Perched on a clifftop, the Mandarin Oriental has unimpeded views over the Indian Ocean and its own private beach. Keep an eye on the impressive 18-hole golf course being built and signature services from the award-winning Mandarin Oriental spa.
A new breed of luxury is coming to the green hills of Ubud. The Hoshinoya is tipped to be a mix of Balinese and Japanese culture that blends seamlessly with its environment. There are plans to incorporate the natural water canals – part of the broader UNESCO World Heritage listed water network in Bali – in its design. Ryokans (Japanese hotels) are quite different to Western-style hotels. Privacy is typically staggered from fully private in the room to semi-private outdoor spaces and public access beyond. Something uniquely original in Bali!
Tried & Tested
Of course, when it comes to getting a true sense of style and service, nothing beats thousands of verified hotel reviews from real travellers. Here are our best luxury hotels in Bali that have a rating of at least 9 (out of 10).
†Bali Hotels Association Monthly Visitor Statistics by Nationality